Activist and social crusader, Charles Okputa (aka Charly boy), has confirmed that he was brutalised during the protest organised on Tuesday at the Unity Fountain in Abuja.
Reports had filtered that Mr Charles, who has been the major leader in the protest against President Muhammadu Buhari’s long stay in London, was yesterday attacked by a policeman with the butt of the gun which resulted in his slump.
It was learnt that the police also fired high velocity stream of water at the protesters who were demanding that President Buhari either resume office or resign.
Speaking with Punch Newspaper, Oputa said, “We were not even up to 10 people that set out for the Unity Fountain. When we got there, we met close to 200 policemen. Initially they tried to stop us from going further. But we explained to them that ours would be a peaceful demonstration. I gave them the assurance that we were not going to anywhere else and the protest would not be hijacked by hoodlums.
“Before we knew it, they started with the water cannon. Then they tear-gassed us and set their dogs against us. Worried, I went to one of the policemen who was standing near me and asked him why they resorted to such action. Instead of responding to me, he suddenly raised the butt of his gun and hit me in the eye.”
The Nigerian Guardian also quoted him as saying:
“The rally was peaceful and it was meant to be a sit-out at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, but suddenly we saw a battalion of policemen who refused to allow us sit at the park, so we have to move to the opposite park.
“They were hostile and then suddenly unleashed the dogs which were coming voraciously to attack us. One of the dogs bit a fellow protester, before we knew it, they fired a hot-water canon which hit me at the back, and then started firing the tear gas at us. An overzealous policeman then hit me with the butt of his gun, I collapsed and my people have to carry me.”
Oputa said he was immediately rushed to a clinic for treatment. But he expressed concern over the health of another victim, a TV journalist, said to be severely beaten up by the police.
“I saw them beating up that man and smashing his camera. I hope they have not killed him,” he said.
Charly Boy declared his readiness to continue the protest tomorrow in Abuja starting from 9pm, saying the outcome of yesterday’s event would only motivate him and his fellow protesters.
“We are coming out tomorrow. It is better they kill me now because I will never stop speaking for the masses of this country,” he said.
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